Contents of such volume and the two book covers of the hardback 1965 and paperback 1966 editions are presented. The importance and “rediscovery” of such book in PsyPolitics is motivated by the extraordinary concordance with some of the themes present in today’s transforming global politics, currently in mass and digital media, as well as in formulations independently developed over the past three years.
“Parallel with these events is the perfecting of conditioning procedures, with or without the aid of drugs and hypnosis. The abolition of privacy – already well along in our day – is placing potent instruments of control in the hands of elites who may see an opportunity to consolidate their position by policing the population medically” – Harold Lasswell
“Probably the one event capable of instigating so fundamental a change would be a major collapse. Only if the present producing and distributing apparatus should definitely break down, only if hunger and cold should spur the minds of a majority of the nation into unaccustomed activity, could a revolution conflicting with nearly every current belief gain momentum.”
“Since revolution should neither be desired nor expected now, and since the transformation from capitalism to technocracy is so drastic that certain of its stages will certainly be considered to be of a revolutionary nature, it may be asked what preliminary steps should be taken in order to prepare for the crucial moments.”
“Revolution, as Trotsky puts it, can only occur when the class in power has outlived its usefulness and thereby become rotten.”
“As a result, capital has been shorn of its function though the realization of this may not immediately percolate through the group consciousness.”
“There is no a priori reason why a sustained, even intelligent, study of the phenomena which induce these visions cannot eventually permit us to attain them at will.” “And when a being is in possession of them, he knows or thinks he knows the meaning of life and thus, as a secondary benefit, reduces, by the aid of memory, to their proper unimportance, the sorrow, the tragedy, even the ostensible evil which is woven of necessity into the texture of our temporal days.”
“Society since the beginning has discouraged by means of church, school, and statutory restrictions all experimentation in the domain of spiritual living. The consequence has been a stultification of the intellect, a frustration of the emotions, and a damming up of nervous energy which is bringing many people to the verge of a nervous breakdown. A technocracy would attempt to set free that great surplus of vital energy now burning itself out, uselessly, in the business game, and redirect it into unexplored channels.”
“Research work, directed toward discovering the causes of psychic maladjustments, may prove more difficult than devising a machine to pick cotton; and successful achievement in this field will surely be harder to measure.”
“As a last measure the energy certificate” – a measure reminding of today’s Chinese ‘social credit’ – “could be cancelled. This punishment should prove efficacious in most cases. When an individual proved obstinately recalcitrant for obscure reasons, the psychiatrists would attempt to unravel the trouble. In no case should real punishment, such as solitary confinement or labor forced by physical threats, be necessary.” “On first thought, tyranny, due to the human tendency to get drunk with power, would seem to be a grave menace to the technocracy. Our present constitution is so preoccupied with guarding against this menace that executive action is greatly hampered. In fact, action would be nearly impossible if every legal requirement were conscientiously fulfilled. In a technocracy there would be no statutory checks on tyranny.”
“Is it possible to draw any other conclusion from this reasoning than that the goal of therapy is the smooth running of the social machine as it exists?” “And what familiar name shall we call a “therapy” that pretends to create harmony on a mass scale?” “The need does exist in its millions — and there are, for instance, 250 Freudian analysts in the United States!”
The current public psychiatrization of “the most powerful man in the world,” as the media often describe the President of the United States of America, could be seen as a new paradigm shift in contemporary power.
In addition to the increasing use of a psychologized lexicon in everyday speech, a role might be played by such spectacle communicating symbolically, and contributing to, a global cultural shift towards a subjectivist worldview and a progressive de-politicization of citizenship.